AEP seeking new rate increase
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Your family’s electric bill could soon go up, if state regulators approve new rate increases -- as American Electric Power seeks to recoup nearly $650 million in past and projected losses.
Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper says the county will object.
“At the end of the day, your electric bill will explode if this is approved,” Carper said. “I mean explode.”
The rate increase announced Friday seeks almost $553 million to cover past losses as AEP subsidiaries Appalachian Power and Wheeling Power has faced higher costs for the coal and natural gas used to fuel power plants. The companies also seek $88.8 million to cover those costs going forward.
All of this comes just months after state regulators denied a smaller request.
“The response by the power company is, Appalachian Electric Power company is, lets ask for even more money,” Carper said. “When will this stop?”
So WSAZ NewsChannel 3 took that question to AEP spokesman Phil Moye. He says it amounts to problems unresolved dating back to 2021.
“What we’re really trying to do is, is to get everything resolved -- the unrecovered costs, as well as the projected future costs,” he said. “Once that gets stabilized, I think we’re in a good spot.”
Legislation passed in late February gives a new option.
AEP says the new law allows it to avoid a one-time, 37% rate increase. Instead, it allows it to sell bonds, potentially limiting your family’s increase to just 3.5% -- or about $5.70 each month for the average household.
“It’s different then say a traditional, recovery solution,” Moye said. “But it’s one that really has the best interest of our customers at heart and keeps rates as stable as we can possibly keep them, given the increase in the fuel costs that we’ve seen since late 2021.”
Commissioner Carper was not impressed.
“I mean, all they’re doing is phasing in an impossible bill for people to pay,” he told WSAZ.
The Kanawha County Commission plans to file its objection with the state Public Service commission later this week.
AEP also has pending rate increases tied to broadband internet and renewable energy. Combined, those increases could cost the average household about 75 cents a month.
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